First time to Alsace-Lorraine, France

Apr 20th, 2007, 08:26 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2007
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First time to Alsace-Lorraine, France

My husband is going to Stasbourg, France for business. I get to tag along without two small children. While in Stasbourg I will be on my own during the day, evenings with my husband. We plan on taking three-four extra days for ourselves maybe going to Germany, Austria, maybe Switzerland ???. This is my first time abroad. Rather clueless to what I need to do or COULD do to plan the trip (aside from passport & flight). We are outdoorsy people (mountain biking, hiking, running). We are simple, not expensive taste people. I would be interested in less populated, unique, historical, villages, winerys, ....kinda get the idea? I have read about Colmar and it intrigues me. I look forward to the wine road between Stasbourg and Colmar. Any additional information would be greatly appreciated to help me hone my daily destinations. Should I purshase a Eurorail pass versus the cost of simply traveling without, how much usage would justify the expense?
Thank bunches
Malie_630 is offline  
Apr 20th, 2007, 09:15 PM
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Colmar is a wonderful base for exploring the area. This thread should help you get started with ideas. For additional info on Alsace, just input COLMAR, or STRASBOURG in the search box at the top of the screen, scroll to FRANCE and search the many threads that exist for this part of France.

Suggest you visit your local library, check out a couple of travel books to supplement what info you get on Fodors, and re-post with add'l questions as you proceed. It will help if we know what month you're traveling, OK?
lindall is offline  
Apr 20th, 2007, 09:33 PM
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Dont miss the Mont Sainte Odile.
kerouac is online now  
Apr 21st, 2007, 03:03 AM
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If you like the outdoors, first buy a detailed IGN map. These maps have all hiking trails. You can get them at gas stations, supermarkets and bookstores.

From Strasbourg, you drive to Obernai (take the autoroute for the first few kilometers). It is a charming town.

Then go on the small roads and drive through Rosheim, Boersch and Ottrott. From Ottrott, drive into the mountains. See St. Odile. Lots of opportunities for hiking and mountain-biking.

In Boersch, there might be an interesting rustic restaurant for you: Le Chatelain. It belongs to the winemaker Schaetzel, there is a possibility for tasting. The restaurant's specialty is Flammkuchen - a kind of Alsatian pizza with cream, onions and bacon. The place has lot of ambiance.

The next destination (may on another day) would be Haut-Koenigsbourg - a completely restored castle (near Selestat).

A little further south, you find Riquewihr, the most picturesque of the Alsation villages - however very touristy. Other nice villages are Kaysersberg, Turckheim and especially Eguisheim which is again a few kilometers farther south. I personally like Gueberschwihr very much which is quiet, unspoiled and charming.

Now, you are very close to Colmar with its old town and the museums.

Another option is driving up to Col de la Schlucht. From there, you can drive the route de crete (the mountain highway). Make sure to see the three lakes: lac noir, lac blanc, lac vert. It is striking how accurate the names are!

There are mountains, where you can hike.
traveller1959 is offline  
Apr 21st, 2007, 04:51 AM
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I'm sorry...June/July.
Malie_630 is offline  
Apr 21st, 2007, 08:59 AM
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Hi M,

You can find train schedules and prices for traveling between towns at

The new TGVEst will take you from Strasbourg to Paris in only 2 hr.

PREMS fares of 39E pp each way.

ira is offline  
Apr 21st, 2007, 09:41 AM
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We just returned from the Alsace. Our base was Riquewihr and we had a car. Spent time in Colmar, Ribeauville, Kayserburg, Eguishem (sp), and assorted villages and towns between. We hiked in vineyards, tasted wine at caveaus, and saw castles.
I have hundreds of beautiful pictures and some very nice bottles of Alsaction Grand Cru wines to help me remember this very pleasant trip in the French countryside. Brush up on your French or German - not a lot of English was spoken in the smaller communities. K
kbrennan is offline  
Apr 21st, 2007, 09:42 AM
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My French family was originally from Riquewihr - lovely after the tourists leave in late afternoon.
mikemo is offline  
Apr 21st, 2007, 11:47 AM
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I really appreciate the suggestions and tips...keep them coming.
Malie_630 is offline  
Apr 21st, 2007, 12:50 PM
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kbrennan, where did you stay in Riquewhir sp?
kate12 is offline  
Apr 21st, 2007, 12:56 PM
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Malie...I would be inclined to spend my extra time in the Alsace. It is a picture perfect region. I have never seen so many flowers in all my life and every town is as cute as the next. There are dozens upon dozens of wineries so you can sample and tour. The region is delightful for drives and picnics...hiking and biking.

We stayed one night in Obernai and three nights in Colmar.
CRAZY4TRAVEL is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 09:40 AM
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Kate12 -
We stayed at Hotel Sarment d'Or. Very clean, large room - lovely bathroom.
The restaurant seemed to be a big attraction for French travelers. We ate there one night and the food was very good and the service was excellent.
kbrennan is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 12:01 PM
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We had lunch at LaDiligence in Obernai; stayed at Hot LÓriel in Riquewihr and had a great dinner at Hot Sarment dÓr.
mikemo is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 04:21 PM
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Colmar is about an hour south of Strasbourg by train.

It's a beautiful small city / large town.

It's called the petit Venice because of all the little canals running through it.
Rastaguytoday is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 08:29 PM
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In addition to the wine route, you might be interested in exploring the northern Vosges and into the regional national park. The route des Cretes starting in Thann and concluding at Col du Bonhomme is also amazingly picturesque!

Like CRAZY4TRAVEL, I also recommend that you consider spending your extra days in the Alsace! Hire a car and explore this beautiful region of France!

2010 is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 08:41 PM
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I tagged along for a year while my fiance was in Strasbourg on business. I think it a great town and hope you and your family have a great time!

My suggestion is to buy Lonely Planet France or Lets Go France. Those travel books will help orient you.

Here are my suggestions as to what to do in Strasbourg with your children:

- Visit the Cathedral. Every day at noon you can see the astronomical clock go off at the Cathedral. Kids tend to enjoy the small show! Depending on the age of your children climb to the top. Its about 300 steps so unless your kids are old enough to do it themselves, I would not recommend it. It is a wonderful view of the city though!

-Take the kids to "Parc de l'Orangerie" Its a great park walking distance from downtown. There are great playgrounds and a mini-zoo with some cute monkeys in a cage.

-Take a boat ride (the tourist boats leave every 30 minutes). If you are there in the summer opt for a boat without the top. The ride is more fun and scenic in the open air.

-Next to the Cathedral you can take a mini-bus ride around town to see some of the major sites. Kids also tend to find this fun!

*The tourist office is in the same square as the Cathedral. They are a great resource.

Suggestions for the what to do in the surrounding area:

-Depending on the age of your children you could rent bikes (they have seats you can put little children on. Perhaps you and your husband can each take a child on your bike) and do a bike ride in one of the many bike trails that start in Strasbourg. (The tourist office has more information on this.)

-Take the kids to "Monkey Mountain." It is a really fun park where monkeys are running around and visitors can feed them popcorn. Children generally LOVE this place!

-Visit Haut Koenigsburg. Its a fabulous castle that has been restored. It is great fun for kids!

-I love visiting Mount St. Odile. There is a beautiful view of the area from up there.

-About an hour from Strasbourg is Struthof Concentration Camp. It is a very solemn place to visit, but I always found it worth a visit. They do a good job conveying the history and I think it is important to remember the victims and survivors.

-The wine road is a MUST! Other people have posted about this. Our favorite town was Kayesberg. You can plan to take an organized trip from Strasbourg if you are not renting a car.

-There are also 2 fun museums in the surrounding area that I recommend the 'Eco Museum" and the car museum in Mulhouse. The Eco Museum is actually an old Alsacian community where real artists and craftsmen go to do their work while visitors watch.

-While in Strasbourg I recommend trying Tarte Flambes (we liked a restaurant called "Flams" which was very inexpensive). Eat lots of pastries, drink the local wine, and stop frequently at outdoor cafes to relax and people watch!

As far as the 3 or 4 days alone with your hubby, I would recommend Switzerland. I loved Luzerne and the area around lake Geneva. Very beautiful! easy drive from Strasbourg. I also love Salzburg, but its a 6 hour drive. You could combine that with Munich. Heidelberg, Germany is only about an hour away. I also recommend the thermal baths at Baden Baden.

Buying Lonely Planet Europe or Lets go Europe should help you with a decision as to where to go for the 3 or 4 days you will have there alone.

It is truly a beautiful area! I loved (and miss) my time there and I hope your trip there is very special!

Bon Voyage!

Oh, I forgot to recommend a hike in the Vosgues mountains. We LOVED going for hikes in that region. The tourist office in Strasbourg can provide you with suggestions on trails to take. You will need a car to get there.

Travel_Ty is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 08:53 PM
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Oh, I forgot to mention 2 more recommendations in Strasbourg:

1) the Botanical Garden
2) the planetarium

Both could be fun to do with kids!

I loved the Modern Art Museum, but am not sure how fun your kids would find it!

Also, don't miss the opportunity to feed the swans! You can go on paths along the river (I always fed them along Quai des Bateliers) and feed them some bread. Kids generally love this!
Travel_Ty is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 01:31 PM
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Thank you for all the responses. It helps to know what to hone in on.
Malie_630 is offline  
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